A question if I may take the liberty: I have been greatly blessed, educated, and encouraged by reading the journals of George Fox, his letters, and writings – and those of his colleagues (Barclay, Penn et al.). His understandings of most things I often fully agree with. But I have a question about 2 things, if anyone might have a view on this please?
1. Water Baptism – whereas I totally agree that baptism in the Holy Spirit – becoming fully one with God in Spirit – is the central essence of baptism – also, the NT describes people being baptised in water, after Christian conversion. I am unsure why G.F. did not accept the precedent set by Jesus at his baptism (to fulfill all righteousness) – and the apostles? The above portion was dealt with in my previous post.
2. Similarly, communion. Again, whereas the RC church et al have extended this way beyond what was intended – and sacralized it and bound it under an ‘ordained priesthood’ etc. – thus removing it from the context of common fellowship – I am unsure why G.F. dispensed with this altogether, rather than rectifying the errors and establishing a NT pattern – as the churches used to have agape meals and share bread and wine in memory of the Lord’s death until he comes again?
Shalom in Jesus. (Steve Thomas)
For the answer to this question I can direct readers to an online source of A Distinction Between The Two Suppers, George Fox’s answer to the question posed above. However, I want to provide a summary here and encourage you to follow the above link to read the full text.
Fox refers to three suppers as follows:
It is said in Matth. xxvi. and Mark xiv. and Luke xxii. and 1 Cor, xi. In the same night that Christ was betrayed, he took the bread and the cup, &c. and said, As often as ye do eat this bread, and drink this cup, do it in remembrance of me; and ye do show forth the Lord’s death until he come.’ And Christ saith, I say unto you, I will drink henceforth no more of this fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.’ Matt. xxvi. 29, and [Luke] xxii. 16. And Christ said, when he was at his last supper, when he was betrayed, before he was crucified, I say unto you, (namely, his disciples,) I will not any more eat thereof, (namely, of the bread of the passover,) until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’
And did not Christ send John, after he was ascended, to call the church to another supper, and said, Behold, I stand at the door and knock : if any man will hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me; he that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the spirit saith unto the churches.’ (Rev. iii. 20)
And the angel said unto John, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the lamb. This is the spiritual marriage supper of the lamb, which the true christians were called to, after Christ was risen and ascended.’ Rev. xix. 9. For they that are come to this marriage supper of the lamb, are married to Christ, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven. And these are they that hear his spiritual voice, and he is come into them, and suppeth with them, and they with him; and this is the marriage supper of the lamb, that taketh away the sins of the world, and they that come to it are blessed.
In answer to supper #1 Fox pointed out that Christ ate and drank with the disciples after the resurrection, thus fulfilling the words, “I will drink henceforth no more of this fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Fox also pointed out that Christ is come which answers the 1 Cor. text. This time He is come with all power in Heaven and Earth given to him. By this power we, who receive Him and live in Him, overcome the world. We receive this power by hearing his voice speaking to us in the light with which He enlightens every man, woman, and child. Now this is not the same thing as is claimed by Preterists, but rather it is a declaration of Christ come that is as significant as (or more so) than that coming so heralded by certain preachers today. Why would I say this coming is more significant than what is normally referred to as “The Second Coming of Christ?” Because this coming fulfills the passover in the kingdom of God in that this coming of Christ removes sin and death from the heart and seats Christ at the supper table where we partake together of His body and His blood (i.e. His life). The best those who do not receive Him and live in Him can proclaim is that Christians are “justified sinners,” or that “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven.” They do not know, and refuse to know the power released by hearing and following His voice.
Fox also pointed out that reprobates can (and often do) eat of the bread and drink the wine “in remembrance of His death until He comes.” But no one can sup with Christ or come to the marriage supper of the Lamb except they have Christ within them, the hope of glory. “Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Cor. 13:5)
My question, not Fox’s, is “If I know Christ come in a manner that is more significant than the “coming” church leaders and theologians have accepted as the meaning implied by “until he come,” why would I choose to participate in a ritual that declares Him absent?”
Regarding Steve Thomas’ question concerning why George Fox did not correct the errors of the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformers and re-establish a New Testament tradition? I refer you to Lewis Benson’s letter to Ursula Windsor. While this letter does not directly answer that question, it does point the reader in the direction of the answer as indicated below. More on this in the third post on this subject.
Fox’s theology has a starting point, namely, the “everlasting gospel” preached by the apostles. And, like the apostles, he has a gospel message
about Jesus Christ which is rooted in the promises and prophecies and messianic expectations of God’s old covenant people. His teaching concerning the authority of the Bible, worship, ministry, priestcraft, sacraments
and church order are all closely related to this gospel message and cannot be properly understood apart from the gospel experience.
This gospel is the foundation for all of Fox’s teaching and for his whole vision of the
nature of God’s people in the New Covenant. (Lewis Benson, 1983, unpublished letter to Ursula Windsor concerning the differences between Fox and Wesley)
Here I will leave you to read A Distinction Between The Two Suppers. What are your thoughts on what Fox presents?